City Times and Other Poems
Vihang A. Naik’s compendium of poetry titled City Times and Other Poems is a delightful selection of delightful poems written in free verse. This collection is short but deep and provides the reader with a thought-provoking and fascinating way to spend an hour or two.
City Times and Other Poems is divided into six sections, all of which have a similar theme. The first section, “The Love Song of a Lost Journeyman,” acts as a prelude to the rest of the collection. Each piece in this particular section speaks to the rather fleeting nature of many of the most profound moments in one’s life, whether those particular instances are filled with deep joy, intense melancholy, or despondent apathy. A sentimental reader will find sympathy in this section as he or she will be able to reflect on the sparse beauty of the poetry and put their respective emotions into the words.
The Mirror Man section reads like a series of autobiographical recollections and observations by the author, many of which can be interpreted as near-universal feelings of question and curiosity. The third poem of “Man with Mirrors” is a reflection on the nature of appearances and how the outer skin often does not reflect the true nature of the inside. The author’s metaphor of the chameleon’s ability to change its skin at will is undoubtedly profound. Furthermore, the untitled seventh poem of this section reflects on the truth that the mirror hides, and the many layers of meaning of this particular poem show the full depth of Naik’s authorial skill.
The Path of Wisdom section holds together some of the strongest poems in the entire collection. Each poem here contains small and masterful philosophical tidbits that stay with the reader long after the pages of the book are closed. Inspiring the reader to get the most out of life, to be kind, to be patient, and dozens of other profound pieces of advice, The Way of Wisdom is the most inspiring and profound piece of Nike’s work.”
The final section shares the title of the work “City Times”. Here, Naik sets what is arguably the longest poem of his collection, recalling what is likely his own journey to his grandfather’s house in India. As Nike describes walking past his grandfather’s picture, through the musty ceiling filled with long-forgotten paraphernalia, and to the dusty desk, the reader can almost imagine himself present, filled with a sense of longing and nostalgia. This poem will speak to any reader who has visited the former home of a deceased loved one and experienced a flood of conflicting emotions there.
Although some of the poems in City Times and Other Poems may prove too dense or abstract for all but the most die-hard and seasoned poetry fans, Naik’s collection will ultimately prove a delight to any reader who looking for a thorough and thoughtful collection of poetry.
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